“There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.”~ Shep Hyken
Customer loyalty is priceless. It is accomplished by going the extra mile for customers. Customer satisfaction should be the number one goal for any reputable business, after all isn’t repeat business the best kind of business?
Not every customer is motivated by cheap prices; on the whole they will quite happily pay extra if they are treated in a personable manner. In my opinion it comes down to three main aspects of service:
- Personalised Service
- Proactive Service
Accessibility is a key element for increasing sales through any sales point including your retail shop, your sales enquiry line and your website.
Customer Satisfaction through accessibility on your website: Shopping cart abandonment is very detrimental to your business and the solution is obvious. If your website is getting a lot of hits but these are not converting into impressive sales figures I would suggest employing a live chat application for your site. Watch how the enquiries come in and how the answering of simple questions converts abandonment into sales.
Customer Satisfaction through accessibility on sales/enquiry phone line: Having a customer service line that is open 24/7 allows your business to answer customer enquiries from abroad and shows your local custom that you are always there for them. Many customers will not be available or not have the time to ring during office hours. I find that the calls we get after hours are far more relaxed due to the fact that the customer is at home and is more stress-free.
Making someone feel less like a number and more like a valued customer can seem time consuming at first but in the long run bad customer service costs more than good customer service. Empathising with a caller’s situation and going out of your way to help them is the best piece of publicity you could possibly invest in.
When your customers advocate or recommend your business it is something organic and pure that advertising alone simply cannot convey. If you cannot achieve this personalised service then I would suggest outsourcing your customer services to a BPO company (i.e. Call Centre, Contact Centre, Personal Assistant…).
Anticipating issues before they arise is half the battle in having first rate customer service. This involves researching customer trends and their behaviour online. This can also be realised through social media or noting new patterns developing in the topics of the calls. For example if a major airline flight is cancelled, the best place to find details on the situation would be on the airlines Twitter feed. This will significantly decrease the backlog of calls which will inevitably come.
This kind of reactiveness shows that your company takes into account future events and future issues to optimise customer contentment.
Loyalty is built because a company truly recognises the value of their customers and appreciate that every customers situation is different. Going the extra mile for a customer is how loyalty is achieved; it is done through high accessibility, personalised service and proactive service. Ninety percent of customer calls are routine fixes (Frequent Asked Questions), but for the ones that are not we cannot fall into a level of complacency, we must handle them with the attention and creativity they deserve.